Author : Sara Farizan
Publisher : Algonquin Young Readers
Published date : 20th August 2013
Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they have been; only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly.Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution. In Iran, homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. As a man, Sahar could be the one to marry Nasrin. Sahar will never be able to love the one she wants, in the body she wants to be loved in, without risking her life. Is saving her love worth sacrificing her true self?
The theme or issues raised in this book is taboo and challenging. Maybe some of you have read any LGBT books, but what makes this book more intriguing is the situation. Sahar and Nasrin live in a country with strict rules about homosexuality. Despite that, the country legalizes sex reassignment surgery which may look like an option for Sahar (in this case).
I don’t think what happens between Sahar and Nasrin is healthy. Sahar always feels insecure about her position in the relationship and she doesn’t discuss things with Nasrin. It looks like Sahar is the only one who wants them to work out. Perhaps that’s because as a reader, I see things through Sahar’s eyes since she’s the narrator. It would be more alluring if I could see from Nasrin’s point of view too, especially with her acceptance of the marriage proposal. Her true intention of marrying the doctor could be more exposed.
Farizan successfully created another interesting character. Ali fills most of the excitement in the book. He’s an appealing and important character. He’s the one who introduced Sahar to people who might have the solution of her problem, and he’s also the one who wakes Sahar up to the reality. Parveen is another interesting and my most favorite character of the book. She’s like the neutralizer in Sahar and Ali’s little dangerous world.
In spite of the great characters, I’m disappointed with the ending. It could be better. It’s too bad that Farizan didn’t explore Sahar’s sexuality more because in the book it’s said that Sahar had feelings for Nasrin since she’s six. There’s a possibility that she’s confused and she doesn’t hold interest for women in general but only for Nasrin.
It’s a good read for those who are curious about LGBT. In this book, you’ll see that Farizan separates homosexual and transsexual clearly. If you want to try reading this book, read it with open mind. I don’t recommend If You Could Be Mine in case you’re not comfortable with sexuality issues.
I got the ARC of this book from Netgalley.